KICKOFF 2011: Terrell Academy ready to fly

Terrell Academy senior quarterback Chris Rogers is back to lead the Eagles after missing most of the last two seasons with injuries.

Terrell Academy senior quarterback Chris Rogers is back to lead the Eagles after missing most of the last two seasons with injuries.

DAWSON -- There's a sense of peace at Terrell Academy this season. The program's equilibrium is undisturbed. Normalcy has returned.

In other words, the spread is back, baby.

After losing quarterback Chris Rogers for nearly two straight seasons to injury, the senior is at full strength following an ACL tear the third week of last season, and the Eagles' offense is ready to fly.

"We've got the kids to do it," head coach Bill Murdock said about returning to the spread passing attack after running primarily out of the wishbone last season. "Everybody who played the receiver position is back, and with Chris back that makes a huge difference."

Rogers was in line to co-quarterback his sophomore season before a fracture in his back sidelined him for the year. Then the ACL tear a year ago put another cramp into his ideas of running the show.

Finally, though, he's healthy and ready to get Terrell Academy back to the state title game after coming up one win short last season in the GISA Class A semifinals.

"I really haven't played a whole year of football yet," Rogers said. "It's been tough, (but) I feel great. My knee is actually doing better than before I started football."

And, of course, there's one other comforting thought for Rogers. He likes standing upright and he's got four returning starters protecting him.

"It helps to know we have our offensive line coming back," he said.

Zach Hurst filled in admirably last season in Rogers' absence, directing the Eagles deep into the playoffs and a 6-5-1 record. He's a natural wide receiver and is glad to hand the signals back to Rogers.

"I love it," Hurst said of returning to wideout. "(Rogers) does a lot better than I do (at QB). With him back there we'll throw it a lot. He's got a cannon."

Joining Hurst at receiver will be more weapons for the passing game, namely juniors Blake Grimsley and Josh Brunswick.

Despite losing their top two rushers, Brian Ambrose and Levi Griffin, Terrell Academy can fill the void with juniors Josh Wardrip and Todd Beaver.

Five seniors are on the team but there are a slew of juniors with playing experience that may be able to lead Terrell back to the state title, which it won in 2008 and 2009. Westwood, the defending champs and region brethren, will have something to say about that, as will Friday's season-opening opponent, Thomas Jefferson.

Senior center and two-year starter Thomas Flournoy, all 165 pounds of him, will help anchor an experienced offensive and defensive line.

"To me, he's what high school football is all about," Murdock said. "He's got a lot of heart."

Sophomore Canaan Davis will also be a cog on both lines, as will senior Casey Jones. Lee County transfer Kyle Stratton also provides added beef in the trenches.

On defense, 72-year-old coordinator Don Beard is still running the 50-Eagle, so the universe remains in a balanced state. Last year's wishbone offense may have thrown that off a tad, but the Eagles yin and yang are no longer cat fighting with the return of Murdock's spread offense that brought back-to-back titles home.

Terrell Academy's 2011 season outlook

MASCOT: Eagles

HEAD COACH: Bill Murdock

2010 RECORD: 6-5-1

KEY PLAYERS: Chris Rogers (Sr., QB), Zach Hurst (WR), Thomas Flournoy (Sr., OL/DL), Canaan Davis (So., OL/DL), Casey Jones (Sr., OL/DL), Kyle Stratton (OL/DL), Blake Grimsley (Jr., WR), Josh Brunswick (Jr., WR), Josh Wardrip (Jr., RB), Todd Beaver (Jr., RB).

2011 Terrell ACADEMY EAGLES schedule

Friday vs. Thomas Jefferson, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 2 at Southwest Georgia Academy, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 9 vs. Brookwood, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 23 at Crisp Academy, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 30 at Fullington Academy, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 7 vs. Dawson Street, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 14 at Southland Academy, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 21 vs. Windsor Academy, 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 28 at Westwood, 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 4 vs. Randolph Southern, 7:30 p.m.